Ukraine and England will battle it out on Saturday at Stadio Olimpico in Rome for a spot in the semi finals of Euro 2020. With due respect to Ukraine and the teams competing in the other quarter final i.e Czech Republic and Denmark, England are favourites to reach the finals and anything apart from that will be considered as a failure for the three Lions.
Ukraine finished third in their group behind Netherlands and Austria and qualified to the knockout phase as one of the third placed team. They were second favourites against Sweden and were quite lucky to take the match to extra time. After Marcus Danielson’s red card in the 99th minute, they had a great chance to win the game and did so in the 121st minute courtesy of a Artem Dovbyk goal.
England are yet to concede a goal at the finals and have been very solid at the back. They have just scored 4 goals at the other end of the pitch but are coming into their own as the tournament has progressed. They beat Germany 2-0 in the round of the 16 encounter and have a real feeling that they can win the tournament this time around.
Ukraine’s last meeting with England was a 0-0 draw in 2013. Ukraine have defeated England just once, while England have come out on top 4 times and the other two matches have been draws. They have only met once in a major tournament before and the match ended in a 1-0 England win.
England’s defensive record is truly commendable as they are only the second side after Germany in 2016 to keep a clean sheet in the first four matches. The only side to maintain a clean slate for the first five games were Italy in 1990. Given that England could face another favourable opponent if they were to beat Ukraine, they can easily match or even beat Italy’s record.
Harry Kane will be glad that he finally scored his first goal and will be eager to add to it before the semi-finals at Wembley, if things go as planned for the Gareth Southgate-coached outfit.